May 11

Written by: Azlan Reporter
Sunday, May 11, 2008 

After registering their first win in the Azlan Shah hockey tournament, the mood in the Indian camp is upbeat and coach A K Bansal thinks the forwards must continue their good work if they want the team to see in the medal bracket.

After two defeats, India exhibited a commendable fightback to win their third game against Canada 3-1 and that boosted the morale of the side for the next outings.

"The team gelled well today against Canada. With this win, we bounced back into the competition at the right time.

Now we can take on stronger teams like Pakistan and Malaysia with confidence.

"I have been worrying on our forwards who have been wary of circle penetration. Today they did it and got the rewards," he said.

Praising the young full-backs in the side, Bansal said, "I am happy the way both young defenders Innocent Kullu and Diwakar Ram played today."

But he defended the absence of defender V R Raghunath and forward Gurwinder Singh Chandi, saying, "They were rested not on form. I want to give everyone exposure. Our target is Junior Asia Cup coming up shortly."

On the forwards missing many of the free-hits and crosses inside the circle, Bansal said the strikers needed to iron out these chinks as soon as possible.

"My forwards did not seem to have settled down. If they settle sooner that is better. At least they have begun to settle as proved in the Canada match."

However, the coach exuded confidence that his young team would come out with better performances in the rest of the tournament.
"At this stage I cannot but be hopeful of good show in the remaining three matches."

On the injury worries in the side, he said, "Gurwinder has a hamstring problem, he should be okay in a couple of days. Sandeep Singh's injury is only minor. He might even play tomorrow against Belgium," he said.

Former India captain and manager of the side, Pargat Singh attributed the team's turnaround to improved midfield play.

"Against Argentina, we had a lot of loop holes in the midfield. We tightened them today, but we have to show consistency also.

"Our aim will be to control the midfield and whenever get a chance go for attack, not going for attack all the time," he said.

He ascertained that the team played well in all departments and was certainly better than Canada to deserve the victory.

Identifying some grey areas, Pargat said, "One of them is our ball travels slow. Secondly, we are speeding all the time.

Against Argentina, I observed Gurbaj Singh was running fast and the team could not follow him. He has to take the team along," he said.
(Courtesy, PTI)


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